Tag Archives: Christmas

The Gift of Giving

Giving.

Giving.

It has been more than three weeks since we have posted and much longer since I personally have posted.  Many people have probably ceased reading these posts since we are no longer traveling from country to country doing the Lord’s work as He opens the doors.  Before I begin talking about giving, I want to first reflect on who really needs Jesus?  Does the poor Cambodian girl living in the trash dump need Jesus more than the middle class American business man that spends more time working than with his family so he can get provide for them the necessities and all the extras (cars, boats, bigger houses, better clothes…)?

This time of the year, it seems that we are consumed with the extras, the things we do not really need.  Black Friday is a tribute to this focus with too many people fighting over saving some money on the things that are not really needed.  People die so that somebody’s son, daughter, brother, sister can get the extra they wanted but did not really need.  Now, a few days after Christmas, no one is really happier and the extras are on the floor.  Many people are ready to get away from their families because they are annoyed and have frustrations with them.  Soon, they will return home and 90% of these extras will sit on a shelf, in a drawer, or in storage gathering dust.  Who really needs Jesus more?  We Americans who have it all and the extras or the those who have nothing but will give you whatever they have willingly?

Black Friday madness.

Black Friday madness.

As I was reading this week, it is interesting that God had me reading in 2 Corinthians chapters 8-9 the day after Christmas.  These two chapters are talking all about giving, and I encourage you to read and meditate on them.  Here, Paul speaks about a church that promised to give beyond their ability out of a generous heart.  He describes this gift as the fellowship of ministering to the saints.  He then goes on to say that even as they abound in important things (faith, knowledge, love), they should increase in the grace of giving just the same.  Is the act of increasing in knowledge, faith, and love more important than increasing in giving???

In Vs. 15 of chapter 8, Paul uses a verse that was originally used about manna in Exodus to talk about giving.  “He who gathered much had nothing left over, and he who gathered little had no lack.”  As I was reading this, I got revelation of a couple things.  First, God gives us the things we need to go throughout our day.  Both in the physical and in the spiritual.  Not that revelatory, but worth mentioning.  Second, some of the things He gives me are actually to help someone else make it through their day.  If I have an abundance, and someone else has need, what I have is for them.  What does it profit me to hoard that thing and save it for a rainy day or something I might need in the future if my brother is in need?  The manna in Exodus rotted, and I do not want what God has given to rot, so I should be intentional about giving away what I do not need both in the physical and in the spiritual.

Finally, in Vs. 7-10 of chapter 9, it seems to me that Paul is saying that if we give with a joyful spirit, then God is able to make His grace increase toward us.  We must have our giving with a right heart in order before we overflow with grace and abundance for every good work.  Also, he talks about God giving us seed and bread, and how He multiplies the seed that has been sown to increase the fruits of righteousness.  It does not say He multiplies the bread, but the seed.  He does not multiply all the seed, but the seed that is sown and that is how the fruit of righteousness is increased in our lives.  I would much rather have abundant fruit than just a little bit of seed and bread.

Poverty in Cambodia.

Poverty in Cambodia.

I want to return to the question I asked, who needs Jesus more?  The answer is that both the poorest of the poor living in the trash dump and the middle class American that has the extras need Jesus.  I could even argue that we as Americans have a greater need for Him because we can look to ourselves to work for and provide what we need.  Some people, no matter how hard they work, will never have what they need.  These people have to trust in something or Someone outside of themselves to get them through.  I encourage you to meditate on chapters 8-9 in 2 Corinthians and discover the gift of giving that God has given us.  It is not only for them, but it is for us.  What is the proof of our faith and love?  What is pure religion (James 1:27)?  What do we have that others need?  What has God given you for others that you have decided to hoard up for yourself?  What is rotting in your storehouse that is meant for others?  Joyously, give out what God has given you to give so that abundant fruit of righteousness may come to you and all the blessings that go along with it!!!

Jeremiah, Man on Fire!!!

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Shelter from the Fire

This week has been a special and yet interesting week for the Gibson family! Last Friday, we had the joy of Jeremiah’s younger brother, Aaron, returning home from Army training. Jeremiah and I have not seen him since before we left on our around the world faith journey over a year ago. So it is great getting to catch up with him and hang out during his 1 week stay here in Texas before he heads to his new station in Washington D.C. We have been able to have times of encouragement with him on Saturday at our small group as well as Sunday morning at breakfast with some friends.

Sunday afternoon we had a Gibson family get-together at Jeremiah’s older brother, Garrett’s house. It has been a long time since all of the Gibson kids were in the same room together, seeing as the majority of us are running all over the world following the global call of God on our lives. This time, we were missing Tiffany and Bryson who are in England, but were able to Skype Tiffany for some time and talk to her so that was a blessing. There is no telling when the whole family will be back together again. Aaron will be able to come back home over Christmas for a few days, however, Tiffany and Bryson will probably be spending the holidays in England.

Garrett, Aaron, and Jeremiah

Garrett, Aaron, and Jeremiah

On Monday, I babysat our nephew, Noah, for his mother, Damaris, who was taking the newest addition to the family, little Joseph, to the doctor. I received a call from Damaris in the morning before her appointment saying that it would be delayed because they had a fire at their house. It appears that a nursing pillow in their room had fallen onto a nightlight and went unnoticed until she heard Joseph, who was sleeping on their bed, coughing on the baby monitor; after which she smelled smoke. She ran into the room and grabbed Joseph and left the house, calling the Fire Department. The fire was very controlled and remained in one corner of their room where the firefighters were able to put it out. They lost a few of Joseph’s things but God definitely was watching out for them and divinely protected them, keeping them safe.

The Nursing Pillow

God knew what would happen so He had Noah come stay with us for the day and if Joseph had not coughed, Damaris might not have known for longer. God even orchestrated the weather to be cold and very windy outside so that they could leave the windows open for it to air out their house. Nothing goes unnoticed with the Lord. He sees all things, knows what will happen and also acts on our behalf. Isaiah 64:4 says, “For from of old no one has heard nor perceived by the ear, nor has the eye seen a God besides You, Who works and shows Himself active on behalf of him who [earnestly] waits for Him.”  

Firefighters and Baby Joseph

God is forever faithful and protects His children, sheltering them under the shadow of His wings. May this be an encouragement to you that if God is for you, who shall be against you? (Romans 8:31)

Katie, Pure Fire of Yahweh!!!

Stand Fast in Freedom

What a year 2013 was!!! In short it was (Fire by Night and new friends, the Proposal, long months of waiting, Encounter God’s Presence youth camp, confirmation of our calling, marriage, honeymoon in Mexico, beginning of Gibson’s Go Global, flying to NYC on Sept 11, Circuit Riders in Norway, YWAM and Fire Starters in Scotland, Christmas and New Year in Newcastle) not that short. I know for many of us, this was a busy year and we should be able to look back and see how we have changed. If there has been no change between this year and last year, it is seriously time to examine if we are walking in God’s will. I am not talking about a physical location, although in our case it obviously was. I am talking about how you have changed in your relationship with The Lord. I encourage you to review your year with Holy Spirit and see what you find out.

This morning, God has given me an encouragement that I want to pass on to you:
Galatians 5:1 Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.
I can see as I look back over my life, even in the last year, how much that God has brought me into greater and greater freedom. He has strengthened us and empowered us to walk in this new freedom. Even when we are tempted to fall back into old things, we have the strength to stand fast!!! We must stand in the freedom that Christ has bought with so great a price and not go back to having bent and broken backs under the weight and oppression of sin that the enemy deceives us into thinking is better somehow. Do not be entangled again, but walk in the glorious freedom that has been given to us!!!

What kind of freedom is this? Unrestrained selfish freedom? Of course not!!! We know that is not freedom but only bondage to ourselves. A few verses later, we see the freedom that is called for:
Galatians 5:13 For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.
This is not a selfish fleshly freedom, but a freedom in Holy Spirit that encourages us to love others in greater and greater ways. We like to explain the freedom of The Lord as we can say, do, watch, listen to whatever we want because we are free in Christ. Through this verse, we see that our freedom is not to be one that satisfies our flesh, but we are spiritually free to love and serve others with our actions. It is such a tragedy in my mind when Christians talk down the standards of other Christians or try to get them to compromise their convictions. There was one instance I know of that everyone was watching a movie with some coarse language. They knew that there was a girl who did not watch or listen to anything with language as much as she could control. Knowing this, the girls apologized to her, but were unwilling to turn off the movie. This was neither loving or serving this girl or the standards Holy Spirit had set up for her. Was this godly freedom? I think not!!! This was the selfish freedom that leads into bondage but no one saw the deception of the enemy.

I am so glad for those who call us to higher standards with their freedom of loving and serving. One quick story, while in YWAM my leader Sage was constantly challenging me in a healthy way. The week before we went to Outreach in Cambodia, we had a team fast. Getting through that was okay, but then he tells me that he is going to do a Daniel fast for the first 40 days of the trip. My thought is “Good luck pal!!!” Then, thinking of all that we wanted God to accomplish and why we were really there, I decided that I would join him. He did not pressure me or even ask me to join him. I was just encouraged to walk with Him in freedom as we loved and served each other. You know I look back now and do not regret one moment of that fast. Yes, it was extremely hard, but I believe that God is worth it!!!

I encourage you as this New Year begins 2014, stand fast in the freedom God has given you and walk in it in such a way that the people around you are affected by the freedom, love, and service you have for them. I pray that those around you who are the closest and those who barely know you will be called to the deeper and greater things of The Lord because of the consecrated life of freedom you are walking in!!!

Jeremiah, Man on Fire!!!

We Can Do Nothing Against the Truth

The Lord gave us the privilege of sharing a nice Christmas meal, centerpiece of bacon-wrapped turkey, with a great family of the faith. We were welcomed in and had such great fun and fellowship with them. This was our first Christmas away from our physical family, but we were elated to spend it with such great spiritual family. As we were talking, Robin was talking about Fenwick’s window. (Here in Newcastle, this store spends copious amounts of money to decorate their window, and people stand for hours to see it. It is big part of the Christmas season here). He commented that in a previous year, one of the displays had been a Nativity. Apparently, a child looking at the window asked what this had to do with Christmas. For us, this was an unthinkable tragedy. The real meaning, the Truth about Christmas, had been taken out of the season. The way the world celebrates Christmas, we might as well rename this season Mas-presents or some such nonsense. In reading this week, I came across these verses from the final chapter of Corinthians.

2 Corinthians 13:8-10 For we can do nothing against the truth, but for the truth. For we are glad when we are weak and you are strong. And this also we pray, that you may be made complete. Therefore I [Paul] write these things being absent, lest being present I should use sharpness, according to the authority which the Lord has given me for edification and not for destruction.

As Followers of Christ, we must live by these verses. We must be careful not to ever do anything against the Truth, but for it. The world has launched a concentrated attack on Truth and are trying to replace it with personal relativism (whatever is right for you). It seems that it is the mission of some to exhaust themselves in service of the Truth so that many more might be made strong in it. No one can ever be whole or complete without the Truth, which is Jesus. We stand and battle for the Truth with all that we have in us, but at the same time, we cannot use or authority or knowledge to destroy or bring destruction. We must always bring the Truth in a way that encourages. Everyone knows that if you bring the Truth and beat someone over the head without, it does not help them. It can be likened to an ambulance driving up to someone who has been injured backing up and running over them. It is there to help them, but can cause a lot of damage to them if it is not properly handled. We must do all that we can to stand for the Truth and speak it in Love!!!

Do not forget to apply this to yourself as we also seek to. Ask Holy Spirit to reveal any area in your life that you may not be fully standing in the Truth. Seek to stand wherever He reveals. Also, ask Him to reveal how you can stand and speak the Truth in love and encouragement and not cause harm to those who need it the most.

We continue to love and pray for the Family of God as a whole and pray that you are blessed and encouraged by everything that we are a part of. If these blogs have been an encouragement to you, think about following them and sharing them with friends so that others may be encouraged and experience the Truth in a new way.

Blessings of Jesus, the True Reason for the Season!!!
Jeremiah, Man on Fire!!!

Busy For the Kingdom

A couple days ago, we got to preach and minister at my friend Sam Douthwaite’s church (http://www.gatewaynewcastle.org/).  We were able to do the kind of ministry that everyone sees and appreciates.  After that, we were at St. Lukes for a Christmas Carol service and were able to pray and encourage several people there as well.  Sunday morning and evening at the church, this is what immediately comes to mind when we we think of ministry.

The very next day, we were able to do ministry of a different sort.  Some may not call it ministry, but it is what Followers of Christ should be doing all the time.  We set out with the intention of buying some Christmas presents at the local shopping center for my Sister and her Fiance.  We will be visiting them this weekend and celebrating Christmas a little early.  While we were here, we had two encounters that could have easily gone by us if we were too busy to take the time.

The first happened mainly because of me.  As we were passing an Apple store, I wanted to go in and look at the new Ipad Air.  This was an extremely silly thing for me to do, because I do not have the money, nor could ever justify it if I had the money, to buy one.  I just thought I would look at it.  Well, while we were in this shop, we ran across Steve who we had met at church two weeks ago.  He works for Compassion International helping others to learn about how they can be a part of change in the lives of needy children.  We were able to talk with Him a little more and meet his wife and almost 2 year old son.  This was an encouragement to me and I believe was good for them as well.  If we were busy or just attending the business at hand, we would have very quickly passed by and never taken the time to chat with these wonderful people and make that valuable connection with them.

A little later, as we struggled through the increasing crowd, we were stopped by a man named Carlton.  He had a sleeping bag thrown around his shoulders and was obviously a homeless man.  We could have easily passed him by like so many others, but we stopped and talked with him.  We even got the opportunity to pray with him and just talk about the Lord.  Even though we did not have the time and not really any money to give him, we were able to be an encouragement to him just by talking to him and giving him our time.

As the busy Christmas season is around us and we are attending parties and buying presents and fighting the madhouse of crowds just to get to wherever we are going, lets be conscious of where God is moving.  Let us never be to busy to join Him in His work.  My encouragement to you, is to not be busy!!!  Busyness means that what I am doing is more important that what you are doing and causes us to lose track of the One who is really important.  One of my earliest and favorite memories of Christmas is my Dad singing “Jesus is the reason for the season, Jesus is Lord Emmanuel.  He can’t get the glory without the story, Jesus is Lord Emmanuel.”

Always remember that Jesus is the reason for the season.  If we get so busy that we do not even take time to do what Jesus did and bless the people that need it most, with time, money, just talking to them, or something more, how can God ever get the glory?  Let us put away the busyness of the season that says me and mine are more important than anything and lets put on Jesus who humbled Himself and became obedient, looking out for the wellbeing of others rather than Himself.  We cannot be selfish with what we have if we truly recognize what Jesus gave up just so that we could live!!!

Jeremiah, Man on Fire!!!